Segotta selected for school board; 14 applicants seeking superintendent job

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The Raton school board has named Bea ver Segotta the newest board member.

Meanwhile, the board is taking applications through June 21 to fill its remaining vacant seat.

Segotta was appointed during Monday’s board meeting, from a field of seven applicants for a position vacated by Michael Anne Holland, who was recalled from the board in April.

Segotta told The Range there weren’t specific issues that prompted him to apply, but “I know there’s been a lot of trials and tribulations going on up there and I wanted to see if I could help them.”

Segotta was one of seven people who applied for the position. The others were Ursula Garcia, Robert Gonzales, Kathy Honeyfield, Stephanie Jansen, P.J. Mileta and Art Salazar.

Raton school board President Art Armijo said there were some good candidates who applied, but that two of the current board members, Jimmie Saccomanno and Ted Kamp, believed Segotta would “bring some perspective with no ties or ax to grind” given that he had not previously served on the board.

“He was just a reasonable person to have as a board member,” Armijo said.

Segotta said he knows the school district has several issues to address, such as the hiring of a new superintendent, and that many are debating how to address the district’s finances, so “I want to see if I can help them sort out some of the problems they are having.”

Segotta is a member of the Raton Rodeo Association, currently serving as rodeo chairman, and heads the New Mexico High School Rodeo Association. He previously served on the New Mexico Racing Commission from 1997 to 2003.

The board is now seeking applicants for a seat vacated by Anne Litchfield, who resigned because she is moving from the area. Applications are available at the Raton school district office. Interested people need to submit a résumé and letter of interest along with the application by June 21 at noon.

Armijo told The Range that those who previously applied for board vacancies are welcome to be considered for the final vacant position and need to notify the district office if they wish to be considered.

He said he hopes to fill the final position “as soon as possible,” adding that he expects to have the position filled by July.

The Raton school board later this month will also decide on candidates to interview for the school superintendent position. Dave Willden resigned last month after accepting a couple education-related positions in the Artesia area.

There are 14 applicants for the Raton superintendent position. One of them, Pagan Roueche, is the current elementary school counselor in the Raton school district. Another person with a connection to the area — Darice Balizan, a former Springer schools teacher and principal — had applied but then withdrew.

Christine Barela, the current superintendent for Hoehne (Colo.) schools, has applied, as has former Primero (Colo.) School superintendent Duane Denny. Another former superintendent at Hoehne has also applied: Reid Straube, who is currently the superintendent for Vilas (Colo.) Schools.

Other applicants for the superintendent position are Raymond Arsenault, the superintendent for Gallup-McKinley County Schools; David Albert, principal at Seton Center High School in Kansas City, Mo.; Neil Terhune, superintendent of Carbon County School District in Rawlins, Wyo.; Kitty Martin, the director of curriculum at Clayton schools; Patty White, associate superintendent at Ruidoso schools; Greg Rockhold, principal of Tse Bit Ai Middle School in Shiprock; Loren Cushman, associate superintendent at Truth or Consequences schools; Duncan Ware, superintendent of Delta-Greely School District in Delta Junction, Alaska; David Del Toro, director of materials management at Las Cruces Public Schools; and Richard Slonaker, supervisor of mathematics for Marple Newton School District in Newtown Square, Pa.

Each Raton board member will select three local people — one a teacher, each of the others a parent or community member — to review applications and select their top candidates. From there, the board will meet June 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Raton High School Krivokapich Media Center to decide which applicants to contact for interviews. Armijo said he expects the board to discuss applicants for the vacant board seat at that meeting as well.

The board on Monday also discussed who may temporarily take on superintendent duties after Willden leaves. Willden told the board his last day with Raton schools will be June 25. Armijo suggested naming Assistant Superintendent Paul Milano as acting superintendent, and Willden told the board that Longfellow Elementary Principal Andy Ortiz indicated he would be willing to serve in that capacity if the board wishes.